DS Plan includes anti-discrimination points concerning the LGBT population

Belgrade, 20.03.2013.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance) welcomes the adoption of the program document of the Democratic Party (DS) which, among other things, includes anti-discrimination points and proposals for measures for improving status of LGBT population.

On its Working Assembly held on 17th March 2013 DS adopted a program document entitled “Plan for getting Serbia out of the crisis” (Plan), which in the chapter entitled “Human rights and freedoms” contains proposals for measures of general improvement of human rights of the citizens, more effective implementation of existing laws, the work of independent regulatory bodies, as well as separate sections which propose measures and anti-discrimination policies related to women’s rights, the status of refugees and internally displaced persons, the status of ethnic minorities, the rights of people with disabilities, and LGBT rights.

As one of the largest political parties in Serbia, DS did not before refer to the LGBT population, or sexual orientation and gender identity, in its program documents, except for general provisions relating to human rights and reduction of discrimination. Therefore, GSA believes that with the adoption of the Plan this political party has made a significant step towards modernizing its program objectives and harmonizing them with international standards.

In addition, GSA used the opportunity to comment on the DS Draft Plan, which was open to the public for several weeks, so that not only DS members but also other citizens, organizations, experts and others could give their comments. GSA sent to the Democratic Party its comments and proposals within the framework of the existing draft, and as GSA has been informed, these suggestions were fully adopted by the relevant DS bodies and will be incorporated into the Plan.

In the program document DS recognizes the problem of the high degree of homophobia and transphobia in society, as well as problems related to prejudices, violence, hate speech and discrimination against the LGBT community in various areas, and furthermore, they say they will advocate for the respect of international standards regarding the basic human rights of LGBT people. The measures proposed by the Democratic Party include more effective work of police and judiciary in cases of violence and discrimination, systemic and continuous education about LGBT rights, more effective anti-bullying programs, measures to protect LGBT people who suffer violence and rejection by their families, public hearings in Parliament, and so on.

GSA is an organization that, in addition to other program activities, deals with policy-making, developing anti-discrimination policies related to LGBT population, analyzing the attitudes of political actors towards LGBT issues, as well as monitoring the content and implementation of program and other documents of the parliamentary political parties regarding this issue.

Already in early December 2010 the Alliance invited the Democratic Party and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) before their then party assemblies, as well as all other political parties, to revise their program documents and include in them anti-discrimination provisions and policies concerning LGBT and other minority groups. SPS adopted such a program at that time, while DS did so only a few days ago.

Of all the parliamentary political parties in Serbia, those that now have provisions and policies concerning LGBT people in their program documents are: Democratic Party (DS), Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV) and the Social Democratic Union (SDU).

GSA believes that the use of terms such as “sexual orientation,” “LGBT,” “gender identity” and the like, in party documents would greatly contribute to the reduction of homophobia and transphobia and to the inclusion of LGBT people. Also, GSA believes that it is possible for all political parties to clearly position themselves against violence and discrimination of LGBT people, regardless of their ideology, and so Alliance will continue to advocate that all the other parties adopt such anti-discrimination policies in their programs, and that the existing ones be constantly improving.

Info Center GSA

Photo: Tanjug